Higher Education’s New Frontier for the E-University and Virtual Campus

Higher Education’s New Frontier for the E-University and Virtual Campus

Antonio Cartelli (University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch104


Technologies entered in education since their first appearance and were used both for improving the efficacy and efficiency of traditional teaching and for creating new teaching-learning opportunities (Galliani et al., 1999). The definition “educational technologies” was coined in the 1950s to describe the equipments to be used in teaching-learning controlled environments. The introduction of the computer in teaching led to the definition of “new educational technologies” to mark the overcoming of traditional systems like audio-visual media (i.e., cinema, radio and television) with the new digital medium. In the 1970s the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) formulated the definition of instructional technology as “… the theory and practice of design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation of processes and resources for learning. ... We can think about it as a discipline devoted to techniques or ways to make learning more efficient based on theory but theory in its broadest sense, not just scientific theory”. The Internet in the 1990s introduced further elements of innovation in the use of technologies for education with an exponential growth of instruments and resources leading to the transition from face to face (f2f) teaching to online teaching-learning experiences. The Internet more than other technological experiences entered in the educational systems all over the world and is today marking a revolution in continuous education and lifelong learning.
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Italian Universities And E-Learning

European universities have met the challenge of modernisation by introducing e-learning activities in their organization. The governments also encouraged the establishment of e-learning in higher education by supporting the digitization of the infrastructures of their institutions.

The ELUE project (E-Learning and University Education) belongs to the initiatives approved and funded from the European Commission for the promotion of e-learning and aims at the diffusion of e-learning in the university in Finland, France and Italy. The study reports the results of a joint survey carried out on the universities of the respective countries by the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI), by the Conference des Presidents d’Université Française (CPU) and by the Finnish Virtual University (FVU).

The project belongs to the set of initiatives designed to foster the creation of an European Area of Higher Education (as referred to from the European Community action in the Bologna Process) and its main ideas and aims can be summarized as follows:

  • • The systematic analysis of e-learning experiences and their sharing could help in the achievement of a progressive convergence of the university systems in the individual countries towards the establishment of a unique European model,

  • • The collection and the dissemination of statistical information on the state and role of e-learning in the universities of the countries involved in the project are the main information to be shared. The project also aimed at the individuation of elements useful in identifying, understanding and implementing an observatory on e-learning evolution in the universities.

The results of the investigation were published in 2006 and are available online on the Website of the CRUI (2006).

In what follows some data on the participation in the survey of the Italian universities is reported and the information considered relevant for what follows is discussed.

In Table 1 the percentage in the distribution of Italian universities in the survey is shown.

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